5 students charged in UP Diliman attacks

By Robertzon Ramirez and Janvic Mateo, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jun 20 2015 10:14 AM | Updated as of Jun 21 2015 08:31 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Five University of the Philippines (UP) students were arrested and charged in connection with two attacks on campus Thursday night, a Quezon City Police District (QCPD) official said yesterday.

Rannie Mercado, Rudolf Neral, Cheran Cabrito, Elias Villanueva and Sean Rodriguez were charged with physical injury, frustrated murder, violation of Republic Act 10591 (the comprehensive firearms law) and malicious mischief during inquest proceedings at a Quezon City court yesterday morning, Superintendent Richard Fiesta, Anonas police station commander, said.

The victims are reportedly members of the Alpha Sigma fraternity while the suspects allegedly belong to the Upsilon Sigma Phi fraternity.

Juvie dela Cruz and Jesus Blas Vitangcol were walking along Apacible street in the UP campus when five unidentified men, all wearing bonnets, got out of a vehicle and attacked them with baseball bats and steel pipes, Fiesta said.

He added that the suspects were charged with frustrated murder because they nearly killed Vitangcol.

Just a few minutes after the attack started, the unidentified men fled while the victims sought assistance from their friends, Mario Andrefanio Santos and Ernesto Luis Martino Pangalangan.

Fiesta, however, said that when the victims’ friends arrived, another van stopped in front of them and the vehicle’s five occupants started attacking them using a baseball bats and steel pipes.

The men in the van fled when they saw the UP Diliman police arrive. The campus police gave chase until they caught the suspects along Commonwealth Avenue.

Fiesta said they are still hunting down the men who attacked the first two victims.

He said the five arrested suspects, upon the advice of their lawyers, refused to talk.

Fiesta said they only found out the suspects’ names when they were sent to a hospital for medical examination prior to being jailed.

‘No place for cowards’

UP Diliman chancellor Michael Tan said the university will initiate “immediate preventive suspension” on students involved in the attack.

“We will impose the full penalty on those found guilty, and this is expulsion,” he said in a statement.

“There is no place for cowards in UP,” he added.

Tan confirmed that two fraternity-related attacks happened on campus Thursday, but refused to name the students and fraternities involved.

“The UP Diliman administration condemns these brutal attacks. The use of getaway vehicles shows these attacks were premeditated,” he said.

He said the attacks occurred as the university celebrated its Foundation Day.

Tan appealed to the fraternities involved to refrain from retaliating.

The UP Diliman student council also condemned the attacks.

Local political party UP Alyansa said another attack was reported earlier this week, this time involving a member of the Upsilon Sigma Phi fraternity.

“However, no police report on this has been filed as of late. What is extremely alarming is that these incidents happened only days apart. When will the next hit take place? What’s the score? How many more must get hurt?” the party said.

The two fraternities have yet to issue a statement regarding the incident.

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